Mindfulness Methods: Start Where You Are
If you’ve floated more than a handful of times, you’ve probably experienced it. Life has been stressful, and you finally make an appointment to float. You can’t wait to feel the relief. You hop in the tank and….it’s pretty uncomfortable. Your mind is racing, body is tense, and you feel anxious. It’s as if you’re even worse off than you were before the float. You long for that deep relaxation you experienced last time, and wonder why this one isn’t as good. Perhaps floating doesn’t work for you any more…
This has happened to me. Countless times. I often talk to people for whom it happens as well. I have good news and I have bad news (that will eventually be good news). The good news is that a practice of floating will reliably and consistently get you to a deeply relaxed state. Don’t give up. Because the eventually-good news is that, yes, you’ll experience discomfort along the way, but it will build more honesty and clarity within yourself, and you’ll better learn how to care for yourself when things aren’t perfect. The end result is someone who is much more stable, content, and resilient. The first step is being honest enough with yourself to start where you are.
Floating Leads To Internal Clarity
I get it. We often want to skip the hard bits, and start ahead of our current situation. We want floating to be an escape where we shut off and forget about all the pressure of our everyday lives. And it can feel like that in the beginning of our float journey. When we’re still new to floating, our focus is on the outside environment- the lights, the music, the sensation of floating. We can keep ourselves occupied (read: distracted) until we absorb all that magnesium and our body shuts down. But once we’ve floated a few times, and become accustomed to all the things outside of us, we’re forced to confront all the things inside. That isn’t always comfortable. We resist that discomfort, thus prolonging it. Each second in the tank can feel like minutes.
Might I suggest that this moment is an opportunity for clarity? Without the distractions we normally have in our lives, we can finally feel how we feel. We may discover that we’ve been running from ourselves. We may see that we’re not keeping it together like we thought we were. Maybe our life isn’t as sustainable as we’d like to pretend. Those are some of the messages your discomfort may be trying to send you. Step into them instead of pushing back. Be honest with yourself. If we handle that moment with a bit of patience and compassion, it will allow us to see and embrace the discomfort, and propel us towards peace.
Start Where You Are And Experience Yourself Fully
Again, we must start where we are. We’re kidding ourselves if we try to do anything else. And floating is going to nudge you towards that unfiltered honesty. I like to say that you can’t BS in a float tank. If your stress level is at a 10, you’re going to experience that fully. There’s no hiding. No pretending. As you allow for that, though, the float guides you towards a better place, which you also get to fully experience. Complete presence. Complete contentment. You don’t need outer stimulation to make the moment enjoyable, or even tolerable. It turns out peace is possible and it’s an inside-job.
The float tank then becomes a place that brings us peace, not because we’re ignoring reality, but because we’re truly seeing and alchemizing it. So next time you find a moment of stillness and don’t like what you feel, decide to stay and listen. Start right where you are with what is, and move forward from there.
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